My first pregnancy was about a decade ago. Yet, I can still remember how joyful it was when I saw my baby for the first time, holding her in my arms, while we make each other warm – my body heat on her skin, her presence on my soul. Truly, it’s a major milestone for every woman, because the birth of a child is also a birth of a mother.
It taught me everything a mother could and should learn. There were some steps where I wobbled along the way, but I got along just fine. Now that my third and youngest child just turned one year old, I can say that raising a toddler is just a walk in the park.
Check out these simple tips for first-time moms:
Regardless if it’s a doctor or your mother, it’s best to have a chat with someone with experience and knowledge. From where I grew up, there are plenty of inexplicable changes that a pregnant woman may undergo.
Let me share a rather odd belief. One unique pregnancy notion in the Philippines is ‘paglilihi.’ Most Western research and doctors would refer to this as mere pregnancy ‘morning sickness,’ but from where I grew up, paglilihi is defined as a strong inclination to a certain kind of food (or even a person). When I first sought medical advice about my pregnancy, my doctor mentioned very little of paglilihi, but plenty about morning sickness. It was my mother who told me everything about how paglilihi works.
Aside from the usual morning nausea, my craving for lychee intensified. This sudden inexplicable craving went on until a few weeks before labor. The craving became uncontrollable, and very upsetting when not fulfilled. My mother said this is because it was my child who was responsible for the craving. True enough, Julienne, my eldest, loves lychees the most.
On the other hand, my mother knows very little of what food items will help me maintain a good health during my pregnancy. This is where my doctor was very helpful. As the saying goes, sometimes, “two heads are better than one.”
Read Credible Resources
Take note of looking for credible sources. Emphasis on the credible! These days, it’s sometimes easier to just go online and read all about pregnancy. However, too much information might cause unnecessary stress to some ladies. Reading about other’s personal experiences is good, but might not be applicable to you at all. It’s good to invest in credible books and resources so that all pieces of information are correct and have foundation.
Stick to your Routine
From your twice-a-week preggy therapy, to your weekly appointment with the doctor, it’s best to stick with your schedule. This is most important if there is a risk of miscarriage. Even if you didn’t do this before, remember that it’s for your baby’s welfare.
Shop in Advance
Yes, it’s really happening! Buy your baby’s clothes, bottles, sleeping area, and other baby essentials in advance. You don’t have to buy too much of each. Get 2-3 bottles first, since your baby might not opt for feeding bottles. Just make sure that your baby will have something to use when they arrive.
Also, keep in mind that you will technically be useless and too tired to function for a few days after you give birth. Stock your fridge with easy-to-cook or pre-cooked meals that your husband, or even yourself, could easily prepare.
Take Care of Yourself Early
Since you will need a couple days of rest after giving birth, make a trip to a salon and nail spa a month or so before your delivery. It may be a while before you can do this after giving birth. You might also want to do things you thought of doing but never had the chance to. Early on your pregnancy, think of stuff you won’t be able to do once your child is born. If your doctor (and budget) permits, it may be the best time to go on a trip you’ve always wanted. Find peace, enjoy, and return with a happy and restored soul.
Anticipate your Delivery
Trust me, not knowing what to do moments before delivery is very stressful. When I first went into labor, I packed my hospital bag two nights before we went to the hospital. And, as anticipated, I still forgot to bring a bunch of essentials.
It’s also good to take a trip to the hospital ahead of time with whoever will be driving you to the hospital if it’s going to be an emergency delivery. Familiarize yourself with the route to the hospital, as well as with the hospital premises itself.
Pick your child’s Pediatrician
Since your baby will need medical attention, it’s important to choose your pediatrician well in advance. Regardless if you choose your child’s doctor, the hospital will be assigning one anyway. They should be notified once you’re nearly in labor, so they can make a visit when your child is born.
There are plenty of hurdles along the way. My eldest is now on her ‘tween’ years, and right now, what challenges me most is how I can guide her in one of the most crucial stages of her life which will shape her identity and personality until adulthood. Moms like us will surely know what to do, even if we don’t know how it works. However, just like a bird learning to fly, or a tadpole growing to become a frog, women are naturally programmed to conceive a child. We just have to trust our genes and our nature.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Joanna has been living in Dubai with her family for the past 10 years. Her journey to parenthood inspired her in spearheading Afterschool.ae, the best parent’s planning platform for after school kids activities in UAE.